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Fraser
2006-Jul-13, 03:11 AM
Robert Bigelow's dream of a thriving space tourism industry took a significant step forward today with the launch of the Genesis 1 experimental spacecraft. Bigelow Aerospace reported that the prototype habitat was successfully lofted into orbit atop a converted Russian inter-continental ballistic missile. Once in orbit, it extended its solar panels and began to inflate. The rocket launched at 6:53 pm Moscow Time, and the company released a series of statements over the course of the day reporting that everything's going well.

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2006/07/12/inflatable-habitat-reaches-orbit/)

antoniseb
2006-Jul-13, 01:39 PM
This is an interesting story. There had been talk of adding a module like this to the ISS a long time ago, before the whole thing got scaled down. It's nice to see that the technology isn't going to be lost.

wayne mansfield
2006-Jul-14, 09:21 AM
This is going to be something to keep our eye on.One thing that came to mind when I read the story was the insects on board.Does this craft have the capability to sustain the insects over an extended period and if so and they reproduce,what will they be like in 5 years living in a no gravity environment.Food for thought

Blob
2006-Jul-14, 09:36 AM
A prototype spaceship module built by a U.S. private space firm has sent back some pictures taken by cameras aboard after one day in Earth orbit, its builder said on Thursday.
Launched into orbit atop a Russian rocket on Wednesday, the module now appears to be in good shape and is expected to circle the planet for several years while scientists study its durability.
It also carried insects that scientists hope to study to determine how well they survive the harsh space environment including exposure to space debris and radiation.

According to Robert Bigelow, founder of the Bigelow Aerospace, his control centre in Las Vegas received pictures from the cameras aboard the spacecraft.

A second prototype named Genesis-2, similar in construction and purpose to its predecessor, is expected to launch later this year or early 2007. It will help the firm fill gaps left by Genesis-1 in terms of vehicle performance and capability.
The company expects to have six to 10 sub-scale demonstrator flights, which will help establish both the technology and the business-case necessary for the deployment of a full-scale, private sector expandable habitats.

Jerry
2006-Jul-14, 02:36 PM
NASA launched a baloon satellite in 1963. There is no science in tourism. This is a space program for people with more money than brains.

antoniseb
2006-Jul-14, 02:51 PM
NASA launched a baloon satellite in 1963. There is no science in tourism. This is a space program for people with more money than brains.

The inflatable habitat is interesting for more than just space tourism, and is far more complex than the Echo satellites (which were puntured and deflated after a while).

blueshift
2006-Jul-14, 03:36 PM
This is going to be something to keep our eye on.One thing that came to mind when I read the story was the insects on board.Does this craft have the capability to sustain the insects over an extended period and if so and they reproduce,what will they be like in 5 years living in a no gravity environment.Food for thoughtFrom the data on board Columbia we did find out that moss, which seems to react to spacetime by growing upward in caves, takes on the peculiar behavior of developing spiral patterns that it does not have at the earth's surface or underneath in caves. At the same time, flowers that do have a Fibanacci sequence of spirals on the ground will lost their spirals on board Columbia.

So the insect study adds to the curiosity of how their cells will respond to longer exposures in a weaker gravitational field. Maybe a study of viruses within an orbital craft is in the future? Is it possibly in the cards that one day blood will be withdrawn from ill people, animals or plants (withdraw sap in the last case) and sent out into orbit that will rearrange the molecular behavior to produce some vaccines?

Ilya
2006-Jul-14, 04:20 PM
NASA launched a baloon satellite in 1963. There is no science in tourism. This is a space program for people with more money than brains.
Are you saying science is the ONLY reason to fly in space?

[Edited]: Vast majority of oceangoing ships are not there for science. Yet oceanographers and marine biologists use technology invented and refined for the purposes of profit and fun -- sometimes completely frivolous fun. Imagine what oceanography would cost if it were the ONLY reason to build ships.

caedmon
2006-Jul-14, 04:54 PM
I think this is awesome. If these inflatable modules are everything that Bigelow hopes they can be, then it should make future space stations cheaper to construct, and can thus be larger for the same price we pay today. Inflatable modules for the lunar surface, mars orbit, mars surface. THIS is pioneering science.

publiusr
2006-Jul-14, 07:49 PM
It is of more worth than Rutan's stunt.

Ray Bingham
2006-Jul-14, 09:26 PM
What a fiasco. This rich guy builds a little baloon (inflated to 12' by 30') and then pays the ruskies to put it into some kind of orbit. I see it having NO relation to science or tourism. Just some guy showing off his money. He did not even develope his own rocked and plans no return system. Makes Rutan look like the genius that he is. Makes the Ruskies look like people who will take money for anything.

Frank2
2006-Jul-15, 04:49 PM
I see it having NO relation to science or tourism. Science is doing experiments to see what happens. This is what Bigelow is doing. He is learning how to build permanent dwelling/working spaces in orbit. The bit with the insects is another experiment.


He did not even develope his own rocked and plans no return system. More is needed for people to live and work in space than rockets. Bigelow plans on using other companies rockets to get people and supplies to his stations.

And tourism doesn't amount to much without a destination. Bigelow is all about the destination.

rasnydersmith
2006-Jul-18, 05:25 AM
It is of more worth than Rutan's stunt.

Do you mean you find no merit in the development of a non-government sponsered launch system? I worked an entire career in space launch systems, and Rutan looks to at least be going in the right direction. I hope we are at the cusp of the day the space access becomes the next era of human expansion. After all Louis and Clark only map a trail to the Pacific, but there were at lot of other methods developed to do this besides for a canoe trip and an indian guide. The Conestoga Wagon was not a great leap foward, but it got the job done.

Robert Bigelow's dream is to provide a destination, a space hotel, an expensive one at that. But that is just as important to the colonization of space as any launch vehicle and we may hope that as it is his dream it will not suffer from yearly budgetary revisions and cuts of governmental projects.

Perhaps you not seen what the Shuttle and Space stations were to be origionally or where the X33, the National Aerospace Plane or for that matter the Saturn V vehicle reside currently. Now NASA want to leap back to the future with a capsule approach for new Lunar and Mars Missions, meaning before they are swepted from the budget. If we are not careful there will not be any science or tourist program at all, except maybe in China.